Well, we're not sure.
It's our first time up to Philly and our first time facing off against Chris Pontius since he moved to the Union in the off-season. Philly has so far played like a team with a purpose, a far cry from the team that they had last season. Still, we always seem to play gritty in Chester and get some good results and I think this is in the plan for Friday as well. CP will score a goal, that's basically written in the script right? However, I got goals from Espindola and Marcelo and we escape with a 2-1 victory.
Please don't hurt us, Party Boy. The Union have been good this year, and so this will be a stern test for United going on the road. However, United's defense was solid against the Red Bulls and Alvaro Saborio and Luciano Acosta are playing better together every time. Give me a 1-1 draw on the road.
Some of United's veterans have gotten into a rhythm this year that involves putting in a poor performance after a strong one. I worry that will be the case this Friday in Chester, Pa., as Alvaro Saborio and Bobby Boswell both put in better-than-solid shifts against the Metros last week. I think United finds a goal as Lucho puts it on a platter for Lamar Neagle, but those of us in attendance will have to suffer through one iteration of that awful #DOOP song when CJ Sapong turns in a Chris Pontius cross. The teams share the points, 1-1.
After Philly goalkeeper Andre Blake denied Didier Drogba's lightning-fast flick at point-blank range last week in Montreal, I predict that D.C. United has a hard time finding the back of the net this week. That was a Bill Hamid caliber save. Party Boy will test our Dutch Wonderland wunderkind in goal, but Worra will handle him just fine. Sapong, however, will score a game winner. DC loses, 0-1.
Let's get one thing out of the way: Chris Pontius is going to score against United. It is as inevitable as the sun rising in the east or the continued presence of gravity keeping us from flying off into space. However, I think United is ready to stop this chain of alternating good and bad performances. That's not to say that I think we're going to see two straight good games, but my expectation is that the Black-and-Red is going to at least be solid. Philly will have the better of play, but Pontius will have their only goal, and eventually United will deliver a gut punch following a scramble from a set piece. Lamar Neagle - you know, our Party Boy replacement - levels things, and United heads back south with a 1-1 draw.
Not having the chance to see Philly's weekend game, I'm just going to blindly assume that their third straight draw was the result of a poor effort or some such business. Nevertheless, I don't see a draw happening Friday, and I don't see D.C. coming away with three points. 2-1 Philly on a late Pontius goal (Patrick Nyarko gets the goal for the good guys), thus adding a new layer of narrative to whatever MLS is calling this rivalry that nobody thinks is a rivalry.
I'm in agreement that a Chris Pontius goal seems inevitable in this one, though it pains me to even think of such a thing. My confidence in DCU's ability to succeed on the road is rarely strong, but I'm kind of feeling like they manage to escape disaster this time. I'll say that a rough game ends 1-1, with Neagle helping the Black-and-Red get the point.
What do you think will happen? Let us know in the comments.